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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Robin Migrations

American Robin in flight

American Robin in our Zumi Crabapple tree this morning.

Prairie Fire Crabapples in this morning's frost.

We had migrating American Robins this morning here in NH, in our Zumi Crabapple tree, eating the crabapples. Robins leave their northern breeding areas in the fall, although some robins may stay quite far north, as long as their food supplies last. We have seen American Robins in NH in December when we have done the Christmas Bird Count.

People often write to us about their concerns that robins are too far north in the winter and have not migrated properly. Robins will wander farther south when the weather gets more extreme. The way you can help robins is to plant crabapples and other berry producing trees and shrubs to provide robins with food on their migrations and wintering areas.

Some of our favorite crabapples are:
- Zumi Crabapple
- Sargent Crabapple
- Donald Wyman Crabapple
- Prairie Fire Crabapple

To see a (CBC) map of American Robin's wintering areas go here.


Beverly said...

Thank you for mentioning the specific names of fruiting trees that the birds like. Not every nursery person is able to give specific information on just how big crabapples get!

I have a couple old cherry trees in my yard…and the birds just love them; but the apple trees, while pretty, are more than pretty messy! The apples are just too big for the birds and mushy to boot! They attract only squirrels and wasps…

I want more trees like the cherries (I'm creating a 'bird sanctuary'); and it looks like those pretty little crabapples you pictured would be just the ticket! Thank you so much!!!

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

Hi Beverly,
Yes, plant more crabapples. We mentioned our favorites, but there are lots of crabapple varieties out there. Check with your local nursery to make sure the size of the fruits on the crabapple variety is smaller than 1/2 inch. Fall can be a good time to plant trees and often they are on sale. Good Luck.

Jeff said...

In the south, starting at least as far north as south Arkansas, the robins mostly eat youpon berries. I have seen them in flocks of 500+ in the pine forests of which youpon is an understory shrub.


T and S said...

The image of the Crabapples in this morning's frost is a stunning image, beautifully composed.